Richard Tunnicliffe, Co-Director of Represent Us
Politics in the UK is totally in flux; and now anything is possible. Things that would have seemed impossible – a fantasy – five years ago are now plausible. I mean Boris Johnson is actually Prime Minister!
But there is one constant in all of this: we can achieve more together than we can apart. That isn’t making the case for Remaining in the European Union – though it does do that. Rather it is a rallying call to the parties that oppose Johnson and the Brexit Party. If we are going to help our country at this key time, we need to put differences aside and work together on those areas where we can agree.
We, at Represent Us, have therefore launched the Open Letter, specifically calling on the Remain parties to explicitly work together at a General Election to ensure that we maximise the impact of our votes and allow our voices to be heard in Parliament.
It is addressed to the leaders of eight Remain parties and asks them to agree on an electoral pact for the next General Election, which could just be months away. This is no coalition in being, no permanent merger, merely a temporary alliance to deal with the two biggest issues facing us:
The first is Brexit. This failed experiment is causing incalculable harm whilst distracting from the real problems our country has. The Open Letter calls on the parties to work together to cancel it.
Failing the opportunity to do that, they’d work to let the people cancel it; and would explicitly rule out the damage of a no-deal – something which would especially hurt the people of Wales.
The second is Voting Reform. Every vote should count. It’s hard to say you believe in any form of democracy and deny that basic principle. This simply does not happen under the current system.
Whilst that is obviously unfair, it is also dangerous. If people are ignored, if whole areas can be dismissed by a government because they will never send the right MPs to Parliament, then people will become resentful.
People will turn to the extremes and shout about a ruling elite that ignores them, because it does. The only way to prevent that is to ensure that their voice is heard and heard equally.
Many people say that there are so many other things to be done and that this should be way down the priority list. We would argue it needs to be at the top. If we are going to change politics, we need to change the whole way of doing things.
At the moment we have a system that gives power to one of the big tribes; and they wield it absolutely. The “winner takes all” and so discussions are behind closed party doors and then rammed through a loyal unquestioning parliament. The other side is the enemy, not to be dealt with but to be vanquished.
But the moment you change the system so that one party cannot dominate, you change the dynamic. If you know you need to deal with people afterwards, you don’t attack them. If you know you have to discuss things, you treat others with respect. Changing the system changes the culture. The fact it is also much more democratic is an added bonus.
With Brexit, we are seeing what happens when that tribal “winner takes all” mentality meets a subject that needs honesty and debate, not tribalism and confrontation. The main parties are ill-suited to this reality with their established positions and confrontational habits.
Addressing these two issues doesn’t solve everything, nothing will; but they enable the solutions. They give us the time and capacity to address our real problems. They’ll throw up unpleasant realities such as Brexit Party MPs but that is the reality and we can only change the world by facing up to it as it really is.
People should not be trying to rig a system to prevent Brexit Party MPs; they should be addressing the reason people are voting for them.
So we launched the Open Letter Initiative to encourage the leaders of these eight Parties to work together in the next General Election, united on the two key issues which they all agree on.
The more that now sign, the greater the chance of an alliance; and the greater the chance we will see real change.
So please sign and share.